How to avoid an airbag injury in a car crash: Life-saving tips – HT Auto

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Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra along with 12 others been sued by the family of a person who was killed in an accident involving a Scorpio SUV, in which the airbags allegedly didn’t deploy after the crash, resulting in the death of the occupant. While the automaker has issued a statement clarifying the reason why the airbags of the Mahindra Scorpio SUV, the incident has fuelled discussion around automotive safety features and the importance of those.
Modern cars come equipped with a wide range of active and passive safety features aided by advanced technologies, which make the cars safer than their older counterparts. These technology-aided safety features not only enhance the protection level for the vehicles but also ensure the occupants are safer while on the road.
Also Read : The science and logic of why, where and how airbags deploy in a car
An airbag is one of the most prominent passive safety features that draws attention. Almost all the modern cars come equipped with airbags. While entry-level cars in India come equipped with at least two airbags, high-end models get six or more airbags to ensure better protection for the occupants. There are multiple types of airbags available in vehicles, which include frontal airbags, side airbags, side curtain airbags etc.
While the airbags are considered really life-saving in case of a car crash, they can be equally dangerous for the occupants as well. A malfunctioning airbag system can deploy the airbag at the wrong time or send shrapnel throughout the cabin, potentially injuring the occupants or even killing them. Besides that, there are some basic precautions one should follow to avoid an airbag injury, which can happen in case of a crash and deployment of airbags.
Here are a few life-saving tips to follow to avoid airbag injuries.

Always wear seatbelt

An airbag can be efficient only if you are wearing a seatbelt while in the front seat. The seatbelt is an active safety feature, while the airbag is a passive one and the combination of both can make the safety optimum in case of a crash. On the other hand, not wearing the seatbelt could result in you being like a punching bag when the airbag deploys. In a nutshell, airbags are not standalone devices and their effectiveness requires you to wear the seatbelt.

Position the seat properly

Proper positioning of the seat and maintaining the right gap from the steering wheel where the airbag is located is important to avoid an airbag injury. While this is specifically for the driver, positioning of the seat and maintaining the proper gap from the dashboard is equally important for the front passenger. Slide the seat back until you have a minimum of 10 inches gap between your chest and the steering wheel. This will ensure enough space for the airbag to inflate fully as well as make a protective shield for you and the steering column.

Maintain nine-and-three o’clock hand positions on steering

Use the conventional nine and three o’clock hand positions on the steering wheel. Many drivers use the 10 and two o’clock hand positions while driving, which could cause an inflating airbag to fling the arms into the rear-view mirror and a pillar, which could cause serious injuries to the wrist or arm. Also, keep your hands and arms away from the centre of the steering wheel.

Avoid leaning on doors

Avoid leaning on doors. In cars that come equipped with side airbags and side curtain airbags, this may cause injury to the occupants. The side airbags and side curtain airbags too deploy at a high speed. Hence, not being in the proper position while the side airbags deploy, can do more damage than protecting occupants from injuries.
Always wear seatbelt
Position the seat properly
Maintain nine-and-three o’clock hand positions on steering wheel
Avoid leaning on doors
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